For as long as we have had the modern slasher movie, we have had countless weapons to dispatch the weak or the immoral. Sometimes the victims just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One of the most feared and revered weapons of the genre has to be the chainsaw. It’s brute force, the sinister snarl of its engine and the sheer destructive force makes it one of my favorites. So, I had to come up with a top ten list celebrating arguable one of the best weapons in the genre. Here we go . . .
Army of Darkness (1988)
Possibly the best chainsaw movie ever. Sorry, Leatherface. You used the hammer more than the chainsaw in the original. Ash is the only one who ever used a chainsaw as a prosthetic hand and that is total awesomeness.
Hatchet 2 (2010).
This is the polar opposite to the teensy chainsaw in Dead Snow. This machine is absolutely enormous. Yes, he’s probably overcompensating, but what the hell, it’s pretty impressive. The poor hillbilly who gets hacked from crotch to eyeball probably doesn’t see it the same way.
American Psycho (2000).
Before Batman was ridding the streets of dirtbags and lowlifes, he was a murderous villain cleverly disguised as a cocaine snorting Wall Street banker. He enjoys hookers, blow and murder, which sounds like a great Friday night. A naked Bateman chases a terrified hooker out of his apartment holding a chainsaw. The way he’s holding it makes it very phallic. No matter, he chases her down a hallway to a set of stairs, where he has a slight edge. He waits until she gets near the bottom and drops the chainsaw. It spins end over end, impaling the girl. Classic.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Jason and Freddy both had a go with handicapped people. Not to be upstaged, Leatherface practically saws Franklin in half in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not too much in the visual department, but Leatherface rocks the saw in this scene.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
Two of my favorite people; Leatherface and Dennis Hopper. How great is that? It’s like peanut butter and jam. Two yuppies are driving across a bridge in a convertible Mercedes. They get stopped by Leatherface and his crew who cut them off. In a totally unbelievable scene, Leatherface’s truck reverses at the same speed the Yuppie Benz is going forward. There is so much wrong here, but in the spirit of the list, I’ll let it go. However, the end kill scene is BRILLIANT! Leatherface mangles the car and in doing so, cleaves off a sizable chunk of the driver head. Some delightful squirty bits follow. Dennis Hopper also has a stellar performance at the end when he drives the business end of the chainsaw into the stomach of Leatherface.
We’ve all experienced this, right? You and your buddy Angel walk into a hotel room to do a simple drug deal with some Columbians. In and out. Until that crazy girl on the bed pulls a gun from under the pillow. Next thing you know, Angel is shackled to the shower rail in the bathroom and takes a chainsaw to the side of the face. Damn, that’s evil.
Dead Snow (2009)
This is a great Norwegian horror/comedy movie that features not only zombies, but NAZI zombies. The final fight includes zombie dismemberment, decapitation and even castration by chainsaw. Even if it is a little bitty chainsaw, it’s still pretty effective.
Last House on the Left (1972)
Have you ever wondered about the best way to get retribution? Answer: chainsaw. After an agonizing ordeal in the family home, the father exacts his revenge with the most fearsome weapon possible. Utterly satisfying to watch.
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)
Atrocious acting and writing. Even by exploitation movie standards. It does however redeem itself by featuring plenty of naked hookers who, you know, use chainsaws. Every kill scene is great, accompanied by off camera stage hands throwing pails of blood and body parts over the actors. It’s so over the top it’s great.
Motel Hell (1980)
This gets the most points for being the strangest of the bunch. The premise of the movie is pretty disturbing as, I suppose, it could actually happen. Vincent is renowned in the area for his smoked meats, although nobody knows the secret ingredient. I’ll let out the secret – it’s human flesh. Nice. The best part of the movie is the chainsaw fight at the end. Bruce and Vincent battle it out, leaving Vincent mortally wounded and the end of an era of great smoked meat.